- Essentials of Holocaust Education: Fundamental Issues and Approaches by Samuel Totten (Editor), Stephen Feinberg (Editor) – Published March 17th 2016 by Routledge. Edition Language: English.
Includes an Element of Fairness Towards All the Genocides of Non-Jews, But to No Avail. Continued Blame-Christianity Memes
This book contains a wealth of information, and numerous references for further study. I focus on a few salient topics:
A RARE, NON-JUDEOCENTRIC DEFINITION OF THE HOLOCAUST
Nowadays, the term Holocaust almost always refers exclusively to the Jews. For this reason, many readers may have heard of the Armenian Holocaust, the Black Holocaust, the Gypsy Holocaust, and the Polokaust or Polonocaust. But THE Holocaust refers only to Jews. Author Doris L. Bergen challenges this. She uses the very term Holocaust to encompass all the group-targeted victims of the Nazis, including the Polish elites. (p. 22).
William F. Meinecke, in his excellent chapter on myths and misconceptions about the Holocaust [including the myth of Danish King Christian X wearing the Star out of solidarity with Jews (p. 47), and of the Holocaust harming Germany militarily: p. 39], also addresses the common exclusion of non-Jewish Nazi victims in public thinking. He specifically includes the ethnic Poles. (p. 43).
Unfortunately, Doris L. Bergen effectively marginalizes the Nazi German genocide of the Polish intelligentsia in terms of the desire to eliminate future resistance. (p. 20). This is incorrect. The destruction of the cream of Polish society was a clearly genocidal act. It was part of the long-term strategy of destroying the Polish nation. (See Raphael Lemkin. 1944. AXIS RULE IN OCCUPIED EUROPE).
THE CHALLENGE OF HOLOCAUST SUPREMACY
Lawrence Baron comments, “What began as a trickle of feature films and television dramas about the Holocaust between 1945 and 1960 has increased exponentially each decade ever since.” (p. 171).
Samuel Totten (pp. 197-on) has an outstanding chapter, titled, “What About the ‘Other” Genocides? An Educator’s Dilemma or an Educator’s Opportunity?” It features some of the many genocides of non-Jews.
Totten repeats his 2001 statement: “Ignoring ‘other genocides’, either by not including them in the curriculum or by simply mentioning them in passing sends an implicit message that such historical events (and their victims) are not as important as the Holocaust.” (p. 198). NO KIDDING!
Author Totten is also frank about not only the neglect of, but also resistance among teachers to, the reality of non-Jewish genocides, “Many educators who are ardent about teaching their students about the Holocaust are not equally ardent about teaching so-called other genocides.” (p. 206).
HOLOCAUST DEFINITION, JUDEOCENTRIC OR “UNIVERSAL”, MAKES NO DIFFERENCE
A very detailed survey of Holocaust education in Great Britain shows that, even when the term “Holocaust” is expanded to include non-Jewish victims of Nazi Germany, students aged 11-18 associate “Holocaust” with Poles a mere 15 times against 6, 176 times with Jews/Jewishness! So Jewish and non-Jewish victims, even under the term “Holocaust”, may not exactly be a zero-sum game, but it is mighty close. See:
Stuart Foster. WHAT DO STUDENTS KNOW AND UNDERSTAND ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST?
STILL BLAMING CHRISTIANITY FOR THE HOLOCAUST—EVEN IF SOFTLY
Authors Feinberg and Totten (p. 4) warn against attributing the Holocaust solely to anti-Semitism, and William F. Meinecke does also. (p. 34). They then turn around and make the baseless allegation that the Nazi Germans “built upon a foundation of almost two millennia of Christian anti-Semitism.” (p. 4; See also William F. Meinecke, p. 34). This is the genetic fallacy: [(G) preceded (K); therefore (G) “laid the foundation” for (K)]. Actually, anti-Semitism long preceded Christianity, as, for example, in Ancient Rome. In addition, the racist aspects of Jewish religion may have been at least as important, in fomenting antagonism towards Jews, as were Christian teachings about Jews and deicide. Finally, antagonisms between religions were virtually universal—certainly not limited to those of Christians against Jews. Thus, to say that Christian teachings about deicide “laid the foundations for Nazism” is to let history run backwards. It is like saying that centuries of hostile Catholic teachings about Protestantism “laid the foundation” for Nazi persecution of devout Protestants (or vice-versa).
The following article, cited in this book, speaks volumes about the absolute dominance of the Holocaust in the American classroom:
Schweber, Simone. “Holocaust Fatigue”: Teaching It Today. SOCIAL EDUCATION, January-February 2006, pp. 48-55.
Schweber complains that: The Holocaust is not being taught in a manner that engages students, that students increasingly find it boring, and that the reverential attitude that students once felt to the Holocaust is no longer evident. She adds that:
THE HOLOCAUST TAKES OVER AMERICAN SOCIETY
“A powerful explanation for a shift in attitudes towards the Holocaust is rooted in its exposure. Since the latter part of the 1980s, there has been a near explosion of Holocaust representations and invocations, media forms devoted solely to representing the Holocaust and ones that invoke the Holocaust without focusing on it exclusively.” (p. 49).
JEWISH INFLUENCE–OR WHAT?
“Whether Holocaust education has spread in the last few decades as the result of Jewish elites pushing that agenda, popular cultural representations percolating into societal consciousness, a grassroots campaign among mostly non-Jewish American educators to teach the subject, or some constellation thereof, the results are unequivocal. Having been widely accepted as morally crucial and educative in and of itself, the Holocaust has seeped downward into lower and lower grades, a trend I call ‘curricular creep’… The third graders in that class may encounter the Holocaust again in their 5th, 8th, 9th and 10th grades. Such unsystematic coverage leads to ‘Holocaust fatigue,’ the sense that ‘this particular event is being taught to death.’” (p. 50).
EFFECTIVELY A ZERO-SUM GAME
“The histories of Sinti and Roma peoples (formerly known as “Gypsies”), the history of gays and lesbians, of Jehovah’s Witnesses, of the disabled, and other persecuted groups was often bypassed. With only a few hours available to teach this content, it’s not surprising that these complex histories would be left out. The omissions, however, bear consequences.” (p. 52). [Notice that the Nazi German genocide of ethnic Poles—the Polokaust or Polonocaust–is avoided by Schweber.]
HOLOCAUST EDUCATION: STILL NOT ENOUGH JUDEOCENTRISM AND ANTI-CHRISTIANITY??
Ironically, Simone Schweber complains that American Holocaust education is, in other words, insufficiently Jewish-centered. Not enough is said in the classroom, in her opinion, about anti-Semitism. Worse yet, Holocaust education is often subsumed in generic lessons about “tolerance and stereotyping” instead of about Jews and anti-Semitism. (p. 51).
Ancient critical Christian teachings about Jews (used to blame Christianity for the Holocaust) are, according to Schweber, commonly omitted out of fear of offending Christian students and parents.
What if Christianity had nothing to do with the Holocaust?
Published with the author’s permission.
Title image: Eyeglasses, clothing, footwear and other personal effects taken from the prisoners before they were taken to the gas chamber, were found after the liberation piled up in the six remaining warehouses at the camp. Source: THE CURIO PROJECT / selected by wg.pco